By West Coast Dental
Food and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth. A healthy diet is really important for keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Here are 6 foods and drinks you should avoid if you want to maintain a healthy mouth.
Citrus fruits such as grapefruit and lemons can cause acid erosion of the teeth and lead to decay. In a study conducted in 2008 to document the effect citrus had on teeth, lemon juice showed to be particularly bad for causing lasting damage. Too much citrus can also cause mouth sores and even just a squeeze of lemon or lime into a drink is enough acid to start eroding the teeth.
2. Carbonated and Sugary Drinks
As with citrus fruits, sugary, carbonated drinks (such as sodas) can cause acid erosion and decay. Energy drinks and sports drinks just like soda are packed with sugar and acid. Both acid and sugar together will attack the enamel of the teeth quicker and weaken it, leaving your teeth highly susceptible to decay.
Alcoholic drinks are extremely high in sugar content. Regular consumption can lead to decay, periodontal disease and staining of the teeth. A study published by the Journal of Periodontology details a correlation between people who are alcohol dependent and people who have worse periodontal problems than those individuals who don’t drink alcohol.
Alcohol can cause a decrease in saliva secretions. This can lead to a condition called Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. Decreased saliva production can lead to plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease. It can cause mouth sores, thrush and difficulty chewing and swallowing.
4. Sticky and Starchy Foods
Sticky foods such as candies, peanut butter and jam can stick to the teeth for prolonged periods of time. Usually, these foods are also full of sugar. As with other sugary foods and drinks, it can cause tooth decay.
Starchy foods such as bread and potato chips can become stuck in-between your teeth easily. Without them being regularly and effectively removed, this can lead to decay.
5. Sugary Foods
As with sugary drinks, sugary foods can be harmful for the teeth. Even natural sugars found in dried fruits can cause decay. Processed foods packed with sugar that are harmful to teeth include cakes, sweets, biscuits, chocolate, sauces and flavoured yogurts.
6. Hard Foods
Hard substances such as ice and boiled candies can put a lot of pressure on your teeth when you are chewing. This can lead to your teeth developing hairline cracks which can eventually cause your teeth to chip and break.
Ways to Prevent Damage to Your Teeth
Thankfully, there are some things you can do now to prevent tooth damage, in addition to avoiding the food and drinks above.
Eat and drink in moderation
Like with any food and drink, moderation is key for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Cut down on the amount of harmful foods you consume, or consider removing them completely from your diet.
Use a straw
If you are going to be drinking sugary, carbonated or citrus drinks, use a straw. A straw helps keep the liquid away from the teeth and is great for reducing staining because it helps avoid liquids pooling inside your mouth.
Have an effective oral hygiene routine
Overall, having a consistent dental hygiene routine can prevent tooth damage. Regular tooth brushing and flossing will help keep your mouth healthy. However, avoid doing this for about 20 minutes after eating and drinking anything sugary or acidic because the tooth enamel will be weakened. After eating and drinking foods that are harmful for your teeth, rinse your mouth out with water to remove any sugar and acid.
Visit your dentist regularly
Regular dental checkups will allow your dentist to advise you on preventative treatments and allow him or her to look for any issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. They can also advise you on foods and drinks that are good for your teeth and overall mouth health.
Call Us to Schedule an Appointment
At West Coast Dental, we are here to help you have a healthy mouth. Call us at 888-329-8111 to make an appointment. With a number of locations available, you can schedule your visit at the clinic that is most convenient for you. If you’d rather book your appointment online, we have a patient portal where you can conveniently schedule your visit.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – Topographic and radiographic profile assessment of dental erosion. Part II: effect of citrus fruit juices on human dentition
American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) – Alcohol Consumption and Periodontitis: Quantification of Periodontal Pathogens and Cytokines